Comedian and presenter of Radio 4’s The What`s New Quiz, Sandi Toksvig, has announced she is leaving the BBC after nine years for a career in politics.
Toksvig is involved in founding The Women’s Equality Party, a new political venture focused specifically on campaigning for women’s equality.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, Toksvig said: ‘It's the Women's Equality Party because unless we access all the talents in this country, we're not going to succeed. Equality's better for everybody… Most of the mainstream parties seem to treat women's issues as if we were a minority group rather than, in fact, what we are, which is the majority of the country.’
The pay gap is an issue the party is putting front and centre of the campaign: ‘On average for part-time work, women are paid 35% less than men. How is that possible?’ Other aims and objectives (as detailed on the party’s Facebook group) include equal parenting rights; equality of and through education; equal treatment by and in the media; and an end to violence against women.
WEP is focused on getting MP's elected in 2020 and is not fielding candidates for this year's election.
‘The party's going to be non-partisan,’ continued Toksvig. ‘It's not going to be right or left. It's going to be a very pragmatic, female approach to things, which is to say, 'What is the problem that we have in front of us? And what is the most practical and possible way in which we can solve this?'’
The speakers at the party’s inaugural meeting included activists Nimco Ali and Mandy Colleran, writer Stella Duffy and artist Shabnam Shabazi. Author and former Time magazine editor-at-large Catherine Mayer is also one of the party founders.